Swimming season is upon us, and with it comes the dangers of the pool. According to a new report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) children younger than five years old account for more than 75 percent of all pool and spa submersion in the United States involving children younger than 15 years old.
The study also found that:
- 85 percent of the fatalities involving children younger than 5 years old occurred at residential pools and spas.
- About 50 percent of the injuries and 73 percent of the fatalities involving children younger than 15 years occurred at a residence.
- Of the reported pool fatalities for children younger than age 15, about 60 percent (231) occurred in in-ground pools; 15 percent (59) in above-ground pools, and nearly 10 percent (37) in portable pools.
- African-American and Hispanic children between the ages of 5 and 14 are at a higher risk of drowning.
- Children between the ages of 1 and 3 represented 67 percent of reported fatalities and 64 percent of injuries.
The 2013 CPSC Submersion Report compiles information on reported pool or spa-related drownings from 2008 - 2010 and estimated pool or spa-related injuries from 2010 - 2012 for children younger than 15.
Staying Close, Being Alert and Watching Children in and Around the Pool
- Always watch your children when they are in or near a pool or spa
- Teach children basic water safety tips
- Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments
- Have a portable telephone close by at all times when you or your family are using a pool or spa
- If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first
- Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors
Learning and Practicing Water Safety Skills
- Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim
- Learn to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly
- Understand the basics of life-saving so that you can assist in a pool emergency
Having the Appropriate Equipment for Your Pool or Spa
- Install a four-foot or taller fence around the pool and spa and use self-closing and self-latching gates; ask your neighbors to do the same at their pools.
- Install and use a lockable safety cover on your spa.
- If your house serves as a fourth side of a fence around a pool, install door alarms and always use them. For additional protection, install window guards on windows facing pools or spas.
- Install pool and gate alarms to alert you when children go near the water
- Ensure any pool and spa you use has compliant drain covers, and ask your pool service provider if you do not know
- Maintain pool and spa covers in good working order
- Consider using a surface wave or underwater alarm
For more information visit www.poolsafely.gov.